Iowa State Memorial Union

William Adams - Private First Class

Rank: Private First Class
Date Of Birth: : Jul 14, 1947
Date Of Death: May 18, 1969
War / Conflict: Vietnam
Hometown: Iowa City, Iowa
Gold Star Hall - Wall Location: Southeast Wall (Top Portion)

Biography

William James Adams was born on July 14, 1947 in Cincinnati, Ohio, home base for the Proctor & Gamble Company where his father worked. Bill was half of a set of twin boys born to the Adamses on that day in July.

In 1956 at the age of nine, Bill and his parents and three brothers moved to Iowa City where a new Proctor & Gamble factory was built. The brothers thought the move was a great adventure and rather liked Iowa despite the weather extremes. 

Highlighting the years in Iowa City were family camping trips to Minnesota, Canada, and Wyoming in a station wagon that pulled a small trailer.

As a teenager, Bill was a car enthusiast at a time when people could tinker with a car's innards without have to be a computer technician. At one time he owned a tiny two-seat MG roadster. Every fall the Adams boys all looked forward to seeing the new car models from Detroit. 

Bill also enjoyed playing pool and bike riding and swimming at the city pool. He was a mellow, easy-going person who also worked hard at various summer jobs while in high school. Bill was a natural mechanic who took to driving instinctively.

After graduating from Iowa City High School in 1965, Bill and his twin brother, Bob, enrolled at Iowa State partly because of its reputation. He attended from September 1965 until the end of winter quarter - February, 1968, declaring history as a major. He enjoyed Iowa State, and met some good friends there. They rented an off campus house where they could relax and have more room.

Somewhere along the line, the flying bug had bitten Bill and he started to think the career of pilot would be more to his liking. The Army had a program to train people as warrant officers to fly helicopters, and he decided to pursue it.

Bill left Iowa State for the Army in July 1968 and in early 1969, as did many young men his age, found himself in Vietnam assigned to Company D,  2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division.

On May 18, 1969, his unit was ambushed on the road between Pleiku and Kon Tum. He returned fire with his unit but did not survive. Private First Class Adams was 21 years old.

He is buried in his mother's family cemetery in Fulton, Kentucky.

We are grateful to Bill’s twin brother, Robert, for this remembrance. 

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